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How to wash trainers in a washing machine

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Are your trainers starting to look less than pristine? Are they still grimy even after you’ve given them a wash in the sink? Then it could be time to use your washing machine to get them looking squeaky clean. First things first…

Can you put trainers in the washing machine?

The answer is yes, most of time. But it’s important to note that not all training shoes are suitable for this type of cleaning – it all depends on the materials they’re made from, and how they’re designed and constructed.

So, before you even think about opening up your washing machine, check the manufacturer’s care instructions that would have come with your training shoes. They should include detailed instructions for cleaning the shoes, including whether they’re suitable for a spin in the washing machine. If they are… let’s get started.

Washing trainers in a washing machine: a step-by-step guide

  1. Check the label. Before washing your training shoes, read the care label inside to make sure they’re actually machine washable. Some shoes aren’t suitable for machine washing, so it's important to follow the manufacturer's instructions to the letter. If you don’t your trainers could suffer.

  2. Remove the laces and insoles. Take the shoelaces out of your training shoes, then remove the insoles. This step will help to prevent your trainers getting tangled up while they’re spinning about inside your washing machine, and it also improves the quality of the clean itself. You can wash your laces and insoles separately in a sink, if you think they need it.

  3. Pre-treat stains. If your shoes have obvious stains, pre-treat them before you put them in the washing machine. To do this, we suggest that you use a mild stain remover or a mixture of water and detergent to gently scrub the stained areas. Make sure you don’t use any harsh chemicals that might damage the shoe material.

  4. Prepare your washing machine. Clean the washing machine drum to remove any dirt or debris that might transfer onto your shoes. You can wipe it down with a damp cloth or run a short rinse cycle without any clothes.

  5. Protect your shoes. To protect your shoes during the washing process, it's recommended to place them inside a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase. This will help to prevent damage to the shoes and minimize any noise in the machine.

  6. Bring on the detergent. Now add a small amount of mild detergent to the washing machine. Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals, as they can damage your trainers. Just make sure you’re using a detergent that’s suitable for shoe material, such as a gentle detergent for delicate fabrics, or a detergent specifically designed for sports shoes.

  7. Select the proper program. Now select the washing machine program. It needs to be a gentle or delicate cycle with cold water. Don’t be tempted to whack up the temperatures and go for a speedy cycle, as these won’t play nicely with any delicate fabric in your trainers. Oh, and avoid using the spin cycle if you don’t want your trainers to come out misshapen.

  8. Get washing. Now start the washing machine and let it do its thing. It’s a good idea to keep your eyes (and ears) on what’s happening, just in case there are any issues. How long it takes to wash trainers in a washing machine varies a lot, but expect the wash to be done

  9. Get back in shape. When the washing cycle’s over, remove your trainers from the laundry bag or pillowcase and gently reshape them. You can stuff them with paper towels or clean cloths to help them keep their shape – and these will also help absorb excess moisture.

  10. Dry them naturally. Now put your trainers in a well-ventilated area away from direct heat or sunlight. Allow them to air dry naturally and avoid using appliances like a hair dryer – direct heat can easily damage the training shoes and make them shrink or warp.

  11. Training shoes assemble! When the shoes are completely dry, put the insoles and laces back on. They’re now ready to wear.

Need any more help?

Is it time to replace your washing machine? If you’d like expert advice on choosing the best appliance for your home, read our washing machine buying guide or pop-in store and chat to one of our colleagues.

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